Bloggy Moms

Friday, April 25, 2014

OCD Can Ruin a Lovely Day

There are days lately where I think that maybe it is time to close up this blog for awhile. After all Princess is doing so well. Then there is an incident like yesterday and I realize just how much mental illness is a part of our lives. I am grateful that the Bipolar side is being controlled with meds but right now, today, we are dealing with OCD.
OCD at its worst can take over a person's life. In our case it also takes over our family's life.
Yesterday the place I thought was the most likely to feed OCD did not. Instead a place I would have never guessed did. Let me explain. As you may know Princess and I went on a mini vacation. Yesterday I decided to take her to one of the beaches in LA. This one has a carnival feel to it. Princess was a bit nervous as there was sand which has been a problem for her tactile senses in the past. We also ate at a seafood restaurant which can be an assault to her sense of smell but thankfully it did not smell fishy. Yep over all we had a pretty great time at the beach.
When it was time to leave I decided to take the scenic route which ended up taking us a lot longer to get home that I would have liked. Princess did great in the car ride by keeping herself busy with her sticker book and rockin' out to the music on the radio.
When we got closer to home, I said that I was going to a drive thru at a fast food restaurant minutes from our house. She let me know that she had to use the RR. Before we got there I asked her if she thought she could wait until we got home and she said she did. Of course while we were in line, it became clear that she was in "emergency status." I told her to jump out, use the RR fast and get back in line. Silly me I thought this would be simple as the line was long. I ignored the voice in my head that warned me that OCD was lurking. As I moved up in the car line, I prayed that my daughter would be finished by the time that I got to the drive thru window. That was not the case. The cashier even let me pull up a little since there were no cars behind me. This establishment is not like many McD’s that has a parking spot where you can wait if your food is taking extra long.  At one point I got out of my car and walked to the window to ask the manager to keep an eye on my daughter. Eventually another car pulled up in the drive thru and my gig was up. I actually had to pull my car around the block, back through the alley and then park in the strip mall adjacent to the restaurant. Then I entered the restaurant where the real fun began (insert smirk here).
Once inside I noticed that there was a lady standing outside of the RR who politely but firmly informed me that she was next. I let her know that it was my daughter who was inside. She stepped aside and let me talk to my daughter through the door. I told Princess that she had to hurry up as others were now waiting but alas my words fell on deaf ears and it was another 15 minutes before she emerged. I ended up watching the men’s room while the lady who was waiting to use the women’s room went inside. I was so embarrassed. There was honestly a point where I wondered if we’d have to do something to break the door down.
When Princess finally emerged, we pretty much walked in silence to the car. On the way home, I let her know my displeasure and how her OCD impacted not only me but the restaurant patrons and employees as well.  I was pretty ticked.
After we arrived home, I went straight inside after telling Princess to gather a few of her things. Here’s where things got really dicey. About ten minutes later, I realized that Princess was still not inside. So I went to our van only to find her a sobbing mess in the back seat. I coaxed her out and let her know that it would be OK. (Insert mommy guilt trip here.) A few minutes later I went to check on her in our bathroom because she was supposed to be getting some tissues to dry her eyes. I asked her what was up. She told me that she could never forgive herself. Oh the burden she must feel. She gets what she is doing is wrong but she cannot stop OCD from bossing her. As I mentioned before we do use a combination of medicine and therapy to help tame the OCD beast. I think a phone call to the doctor is in order today. Stay tuned.
* As a side note: I was finally able to get Princess mind off of the ugliness by watching "Mrs. Doubtfire" with her while cuddling with  her on the couch. Maybe I'm not the worst mom in the world after all.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

OCD as a Comorbid Disease in Those with Autism

In honor of Autism awareness month I am going to be posting comorbid diseases and how they present themselves in Princess. Please note that Princess's main dx is still BP but I am seeing that she has a lot on common with kids who have Autism as their main dx. This will be an occasional series.
OCD is the beast that we have to battle with on a pretty consistent basis. I even read that Carly Fleischmann, co-author of "Carly's Voice" and a voice for Autistic people everywhere, has OCD as well. The rituals of OCD can take over a person's life. They end up missing out on so much because the rituals are time consuming and paralyzing. 
We first noticed or rather acknowledged that Princess had OCD about two years ago. She went through this phase of using excessive band aids and having to change her undergarments seven times a day. At one point we were going through a box of band aids a day. She had a band aid on literally every finger. It wasn't enough that she had a band aid, there was an obsession with their use as well. First the band aid had to be put on just so. If not, she would take it off and start over. Then if she washed her hands and the band aid or band aids got wet, the whole process started over again. We tried limiting the number of band aids that Princess was allowed. We also stopped participating in the ritual of putting the band aids on. Another way that OCD manifested in Princess was with her shoes. It she had Velcro shoes, the straps had to be pulled as tight as they could go. They also had to be lined up perfectly, no crooked lines at all. If she wore shoes that had laces, the laces had to be pulled tight, double knotted and exactly the same length. The shoe obsession caused her to wear out shoes much faster than her peers. more importantly it caused our family to miss church. It also caused Princess to be extremely late to school on a number of occasions.
After awhile, the band aid fetish progressed into the hand washing obsession. Princess washed her hands frequently and for extended periods of time just to make sure that they were clean. I knew we had a big problem when we went through a gallon of soap in two days. Silly me. I thought if I stocked up on soap, then I wouldn't be running out to the store so much. Instead Princess took it as a sign that it was OK to use as much as she wanted.
Looking back now, there were early signs that Princess had OCD. One of them was that the top sheet on her bed had to be just so or she couldn't get comfortable. Another was her need to wear the same outfit every day for months on end,
OCD will always be a part of Princess's life but there are things that can be done to make it more manageable. One is to take Zoloft. This works in amazing ways to stop the obsessive thoughts. Another lifesaver is therapy. Since Princess's therapist is aware of this problem, she works with her to help her recognize the behaviors and stop them. Finally as parents, my husband and I have to choose not to be OCD's ally. We keep only a limited amount of band aids available at all times. If Princess runs out, she has to buy more with her own money. I do not adjust her bed sheets either.
In a way, OCD can be like any dx. It has it's ebbs and flows. Right now we are seeing it flare up a bit but it is still manageable.